With compost, that’s how.
Compost that is lush, dark, crumbly and moist. Compost that is so rich in nutrients and minerals that gardeners call it “black gold.”
You can make it yourself, helping to reduce land fill and giving your garden a helping hand.
If you’re already enjoying the benefits of turning your kitchen and garden waste into sweet-smelling rich compost, then you’ll know how rewarding it is, both for you and your garden.
If you’re not, then you’re missing out.
It’s cheap, easy to learn, and your garden will love you for it.
So here’s our three step guide to making your own delicious compost to treat your garden this Autumn:
Step 1: Gather your ingredients: a compost bin and waste materials
Having a small airtight bin for the kitchen will make it easier for you to compost your kitchen waste such as egg shells, potato and carrot peelings, and other uncooked organic waste.
Then you’ll need a composter for outside. You can get a compost bin from a hardware store or garden centre, or call your local council to see if they offer discounted bins, or you can make your own using wood offcuts.
(Alternatively you can just create a heap of waste material in your garden and cover with cardboard, but a properly constructed bin would be better if you can).
Locate your bin in a semi-shaded position in the garden, directly on soil, somewhere convenient for you to access.
Then you’re ready to start gathering your materials.
Ideally, compost is made up of an even mix of green and brown waste:
Greens: Grass cuttings, nettles, raw vegetable peelings from the kitchen, teabags and soft green prunings.
Browns: Cardboard (loo rolls, egg boxes, etc.), sawdust, hedge clippings, wood ash, egg shells (crushed).
Step 2: Get composting
Gather up enough materials to create a layer of at least 30cm in the bottom of your composter. Try and put a few woody twigs in the bottom to help drainage and air circulation, then add the rest of your waste on top.
Keep the content varied, with plenty of cardboard and sawdust if the mixture is too soggy, or add water if it’s too dry.
Step 3: You’re done
The mixture can take anything from 6-8 weeks to a year to compost, so patience is a must if you’re going to enter the world of home composting.
If you really can’t wait, you can speed the process by mixing it up with a garden fork to add new air. Or break down hardy twigs and hedge cuttings with a shredder before adding them.
How do you know when it’s ready?
Once the material has turned dark brown with a rich earthy smell then it’s ready to use, and your garden can finally receive it’s annual treat of rich nutrients and moisture.
Don’t worry if you’ve still got egg shells or twigs in it – you can still sprinkle them on the garden, or you can pop them back into the compost bin to break down further.
Where can I use my compost?
Anywhere you have plants.
Use it as mulch around the base of plants, or put some on your lawn to give it a burst of fresh nutrients. It will be visible through the grass for a few weeks but will slowly get soaked in as the earth gobbles it up.
Or you can mix it in with the soil in your beds, and the plants growing there will thrive.
You’ll be glad you did when Spring makes an appearance next year and your flowers reward you for all that hard work with a burst of colour.
Come and share how you get on with the community on Daisy Hill’s Facebook page – what works for you? How does your garden grow?